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Grad Student Wang Quantifies Ocean Model Uncertainty to Improve Prediction Accuracy

September 12, 2017

Researchers use numerical models to simulate oil spill scenarios and predict where oil will go, but the many factors that affect the oil’s path creates uncertainty in the predictions. Shitao Wang quantifies the uncertainty of ocean models to gauge the reliability of oil fate predictions. “It’s like a weather prediction. Instead of saying whether or not it will rain tomorrow, forecasters give you an estimation of how likely it is that it will rain tomorrow,” he explained. “While we can’t say for sure that the oil will transport to a certain place, we can say if there is a 10% or even 80% chance.”

His Path

Shitao would often watch the sea in his coastal hometown of Qingdao in northeast China. He developed an interest in studying the ocean and enrolled in the Ocean University of China as a marine technology undergraduate student. While completing his bachelor’s degree, he also pursued his interest in computers and incorporated as many computer science classes as possible into his studies. He also spent time in 2010 as an exchange student in Taiwan at I-Shou University’s electrical and information engineering program. “Studying oceanography, especially the modelling aspect of oceanography, is the natural progression of my personal interest and my academic background,” said Shitao.

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